March 28, 2023

Two churches in Algeciras, a city in southern Spain, were targeted by stabbing attacks that left one dead and one seriously injured. An investigation has been opened for alleged acts of terrorism.

[Mis à jour le 26 janvier à 8h08] Spain has been rocked by several attacks on churches. On the evening of Wednesday, January 25, a man attacked “with knives” religious and faithful in the city of Algeciras, Andalusia. A sexton died after receiving several blows. After announcing a death toll of several injured, the police said only a priest was injured in the attack and was hospitalized. The Spanish authorities have opened an investigation into alleged acts of terrorism entrusted to a judge of the National Audience, the court in charge of terrorism cases.

Two churchmen attacked

The attacks carried out in the south of Spain targeted two Christian places of worship and two clergymen were attacked. A priest was first violently attacked with a machete in the church of San Isidro in the center of Algeciras around 8 p.m. The assailant then headed to the Nuestra Señora de La Palma church, located just a few minutes from the first establishment, and attacked a sexton after causing damage to objects of worship. According to the testimonies, the sexton managed to get out of the church before being caught by the aggressor on the forecourt and being hammered by violent blows.

Who is the assailant? Is he a terrorist?

The alleged perpetrator of the attacks carried out in two Spanish churches is a 25-year-old man, of Moroccan nationality and in an irregular situation according to the latest elements of the investigation revealed by the daily El País. The individual reportedly went to the San Isidro church for the first time wearing a black djellaba and called on the faithful to convert to Islam. It was only an hour later that the man returned to the religious establishment armed with a machete. After the two attacks, the suspect allegedly tried to hide in vain before being “immobilized” and “arrested” by the police, reported the Interior Ministry.

The unfolding of events can be partly verified thanks to amateur videos, one of which is broadcast by El País. Footage shows the alleged assailant moving through the streets of Algeciras with a machete-like weapon in his hands. In another video, the man appears from behind, framed by the police, black pants and a gray, black and white hoodie. Handcuffed, he walks in socks in a hallway.

An investigation opened for alleged acts of terrorism

The Spanish Interior Ministry said that “the facts are being analyzed and are being investigated. It is not possible at the moment to determine the nature of the attack”, assured the Ministry of Interior. For its part, the prosecution announced that an investigation had been opened for “presumed acts of terrorism”.

Juanma Moreno, president of the Andalusia region, called the attack on Twitter “terrible and unbearable.” Before continuing: “I strongly condemn the crime. Intolerance will never have a place in our society.”

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